Daniel Tarker’s “The Woman in the Wall…a haunting mystery set in Seattle”

The thing about Seattle is that there’s so much talent here. I’m constantly amazed. One expects much from the big equity houses, and we usually get something that’s at least pretty good and often just stunning. It’s the small houses and production companies that are unpredictable. They try hard, sometimes fail, and at other times offer imaginative, sophisticated, amazing work on a shoestring budget. They accomplish little miracles.

Playwright Daniel Tarker is one of Seattle’s noteworthy talents, creator of little miracles. The latest of his successful plays, “The Woman in the Wall”, is now playing at Annex Theatre. Though not perfect, it’s damned good. It focuses on Stephanie, an ailing journalist, who happens upon a startling story that demands exploration. The 50-year-old bodies of a woman and her fetus are found inside the wall of a downtown apartment building undergoing demolition.

The ghost of the dead women enters Stephanie’s mind and our stage. The intrepid journalist gradually teases out the story of the woman’s life and death as she too faces her own mortality.

The play offers thought provoking examples of challenging relationships, reminds us of contemporary issues, and raises interesting philosophical questions that force us to reflect on our own lives. Within it are wonderful literary references, and just enough clues are doled out so that we can solve the mystery before its solution is revealed, and that’s a great satisfaction.

This is a thinking person’s play. No jingle bells, elves, or tinsel. It’s a refreshing change at this time of year, and the price is right.

Through Dec. 15 produced by Pacific Play Company at Annex Theatre, 1111 Pike St., Seattle (206 728-0933 or Annextheatre.org).

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